CHICAGO – White Sox broadcaster Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, a colorful character known for his folksy sayings and unbridled enthusiasm for his longtime team, will retire after working 20 games next year in his 34th season in the booth.
The 75-year-old Harrelson, who also played in the majors for nine seasons with four teams and served as Chicago’s general manager for a short time, will work primarily Sunday home dates in 2018. After he finishes his TV duties, he will serve as a team ambassador for the 2019 season.
“There’s not a better organization in baseball than the Chicago White Sox,” Harrelson said before Chicago faced the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night. “It’s just that simple. You can tie us but you can’t beat us. To be in the situation I’ve been in, I’ve been blessed to have been in this situation for all these years. Do the math. Go figure.”
Harrelson began his broadcasting career with the Boston Red Sox in 1975. He moved to Chicago in 1982, partnering with Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale. After stints as the White Sox GM and broadcast work with the Yankees and NBC, he returned to the White Sox booth in 1990.
Harrelson’s long tenure with the White Sox has produced several beloved sayings on the South Side of Chicago. There is “You Can Put It On the Board, Yes!” for White Sox home runs, and “He Gone” after a White Sox pitcher gets a strikeout. “Mercy” also is a popular staple.
The White Sox gave out a Hawk Harrelson alarm clock with some of his sayings for a home game this year, and it was one of their most popular promotions of the season.
“There will never be another personality in the booth quite like Hawk Harrelson,” White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said in a release.
The White Sox also announced a multiyear contract with Jason Benetti to continue as the primary play-by-play voice for the team. Benetti, a Chicago-area native who grew up a White Sox fan, joined the team’s broadcast booth last year.
Harrelson made his major league debut with the Kansas City Athletics in 1963 and also played for the Washington Senators, Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians, finishing with a .239 batting average, 131 homers and 421 RBIs. He had his best season with Boston in 1968, when he had 35 homers and a major league-best 109 RBIs.
He retired after the 1971 season and played professional golf for a short time before he got into broadcasting. He played in the 1972 British Open.
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